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Chapter 7: We’re Together Now

Translated by Fefe of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: Addis

The SUV started up again, and the long line of cars drove between the green mountainous wilderness. Tang Heng wasn’t carsick anymore after getting scared by Li Yuechi. However, 15 minutes had passed, and he still felt unsettled, his heart pounding.

The driver looked at him in the rearview mirror and said kindly, “Teacher Tang, it’s all mountain roads from now on. If you’re carsick, you can lean against Xiao Li and sleep—even just closing your eyes would help.” As soon as he finished, there was a sharp turn, and Tang Heng was thrown against Li Yuechi by the inertia. His black jacket pressed tightly against the gray. There was another turn to the other side before he could react. This time, Li Yuechi tipped against Tang Heng. The mountains outside the window also seemed to press down—not physically, but Tang Heng’s breathing went offbeat.

The two fell against one another like tumblers. Tang Heng could only tense up his body, fearing that a 270-degree turn would throw him directly into Li Yuechi’s arms—this situation was typical for mountain roads, but right now, any physical touch between him and Li Yuechi made him lose his mind.

But Li Yuechi just had to ask, “Teacher Tang, are you still dizzy?”

“Not dizzy anymore,” Tang Heng gritted out.

“Really?” Li Yuechi laughed. “You adjusted very quickly.”


After another 15 minutes, the driver said, “We’re here!”

The SUV stopped in the village council’s yard. There was a shallow creek right outside the gates. Across from it were some houses—wooden with black-tiled roofs—scattered about. Beside it was a low hill with levels of tiered fields and a very tall mountain behind that. The treetops made the mountain’s line fuzzy like it was stabbing into the sky softly.

But the mountain was in the way. Other than the mountain, he couldn’t see anything else.

“What are you looking at?” Li Yuechi asked.

“Looking at the mountain… What’s behind it?” After asking, Tang Heng suddenly remembered a poem from his elementary school textbook—What is on the other side of the mountain? The sea.

“More mountains,” Li Yuechi said.

Tang Heng felt that he’d asked a stupid question. Behind the mountain were more mountains. If this line appeared in a novel or movie, the pretentious youths would write thousand-word essays analyzing it. But in Guizhou, in this place, there was a mountain behind more mountains. This was an objective observation. Tang Heng suddenly wondered, had Li Yuechi asked this same question as a child? But how depressing would the answer be for the child? He was only imagining it now, but he grew depressed, too.

 “But there are a lot of medicinal plants in the back mountain,” Li Yuechi continued. “If you want, I can bring you there. It’s along the way.”

“Medicinal plants?”

“Yeah, and a few dozen fig trees. Wanna eat figs?”

“No, we’re not allowed to eat the villagers’—”

“This doesn’t count.”


“The fig trees are all under my family.”

Tang Heng was caught by surprise but quickly recovered. What Li Yuechi meant was that he didn’t count as a villager. He was his boyfriend.

He looked at Li Yuechi with conflicting emotions, but just as he was about to speak, there was a commotion behind him. Sun Jihao was at the front, and a middle-aged man with glasses was behind him. “This is Tang Heng-laoshi,” Sun Jihao said.

“Oh, Teacher Tang! Hello, hello, the journey up here must’ve been tiring!” The man shook Tang Heng’s hand hard. “I am Zheng Si, the mayor of Banxi Village.”

“Mayor Zheng, hello,” Tang Heng said.

“Teacher Tang, this is our village party secretary, Wang Enping. This is…”

Tang Heng politely talked with them as he walked into the village council, surrounded by people. He sat in the conference room, and the mayor offered them hot tea. Chuckling, he said, “Really, thank you for your efforts. All the young people they’ve gone out to work. It’s mostly the old and young here. Your work might be difficult.”

“Haha, that’s why we must cooperate with the village council!” Sun Jihao’s tone was easygoing and bold. “And Xiao Li from your village came too. Xiao Li is an old classmates with our Teacher Tang!”

“Oh? Really?” The mayor’s eyes widened, and his expression stiffened. “Haha, I only came to this village last winter. Xiao Li and the other young people don’t return often, so I’m unfamiliar with the details…”

Banxi Village had 125 families. According to the geography, they were divided into mid-mountain, mid-creek, and dam groups. The mid-mountain and creek groups were closer, while the dam group was relatively far—a 20-minute car ride. Sun Jihao grinned at Tang Heng. “Shidi, one will go to the closer group and the farther group. Which one do you choose?”

Tang Heng’s first reaction was, which group was Li Yuechi’s house part of?

Before he could ask, Sun Jihao slapped his forehead. “I almost forgot. You can go to the group with Xiao Li’s house. He can lead the way, since you two are close.”

“Okay,” Tang Heng said.

Li Yuechi’s house was in the dam group, so it was decided that Tang Heng would lead 10 students there. He walked out of the village council and saw Li Yuechi standing by the creek. He wasn’t moving, as if spacing out, but just as Tang Heng opened his mouth to call out, he took two steps forward. One foot stepped on a rock by the creek and he stooped over. With his back to Tang Heng, he looked like he was going to jump into the water—

“Xiao Li!” the mayor called. “Come lead the way for Teacher Tang!”

Li Yuechi turned around to look at them. Then he got up and quickly came before Tang Heng.

“Let’s go, Teacher Tang,” he said.


The students had already partnered up and gotten into the cars. Tang Heng followed Li Yuechi to the SUV they came in. Tang Heng’s throat tightened and his voice was rusty as he said, “What were you… doing?”


“What were you doing by the creek?”

“…Washing my hands.” Li Yuechi raised his left hand. The back of his hand was red. “The water’s a bit cold.”

Tang Heng was sapped of his energy. He opened the car door and leaned against the back of the seat.

Li Yuechi glanced at him but didn’t speak.

The SUV drove between the mountains again, but they slowed down this time. The road was much narrower than when they’d come. A few turns were right against the edge of the cliff—a thrilling experience.

When they arrived at the dam group, the students split up into the groups they’d gotten beforehand and went off with the guides. Tang Heng didn’t have any specific tasks. He would just randomly check on the students.   


 The two walked for a few minutes without saying anything. Then Li Yuechi asked, “What’s wrong just now?”

His expression was calm, making Tang Heng look like he’s throwing a tantrum in comparison.

“You’re not allowed to scare me,” Tang Heng said tightly. “When you suddenly went to the creek, I thought—”

“You thought I was gonna drown myself?” Li Yuechi laughed. “It’s so shallow. I won’t die even if I wanted to.”

“And on the way here, you went backwards… Don’t you know how dangerous that was? What if you really stepped off? What if I reacted half a second too late and couldn’t grab onto you?” Tang Heng spoke faster and faster, pouring out all the fear and anxiety from this journey. “Didn’t you see how steep it was? You would’ve died without a doubt if he fell down, don’t you know? These things—you can’t joke about these things, Li Yuechi.”  

Li Yuechi halted, but his expression was still relaxed.

“You really thought I was betting if I’d step off the cliff or not?” He looked at Tang Heng with a victorious smile in his eyes. “I was betting if you’d let me take the third step or not.”

Tang Heng fell silent. A few seconds later, he said, “You trusted that I’d stop you and agree.”

“Yes.” Li Yuechi suddenly reached over and squeezed the palm of Tang Heng’s right hand. “Just from your expression when you saw me that night, I knew you’d agree.”

Fine, fine. Speechless, giving up, Tang Heng thought, at least he wasn’t really suicidal. Since Li Yuechi could still be in total control of him after six years, he accepted defeat.

“Have you processed everything?” Li Yuechi patted Tang Heng’s cheek. “We’re together now.”

There was no one around, only two peach trees, a field of crops, and faint chicken clucks sounded in the distance.

“So?” Tang Heng said. He still couldn’t imagine the fact that he was with Li Yuehci again.

“If we go in order, let’s get to know each other first?”


“Let’s ask questions, one at a time,” Li Yuechi said. “You first?”

Tang Heng felt like it was a game, or maybe it was one. “When did you get released? I mean, the specific date.” But even if it was a game, it wasn’t bad if he could learn more about Li Yuechi.

“2016. December 11.”

“Oh.” What was he doing at that time? He’d just arrived in Macao.

Li Yuechi: “Did you date these six years?”

“…” Tang Heng didn’t want to lie, but if he honestly said no

“Got it.” Li Yuechi laughed, the kind of victorious laugh. “Your turn.”

Tang Heng was quiet for a few seconds. “Who’s that girl?”

“Elementary school classmate. I was broke when I just got released, so I partnered with her for the business.”

“She likes you?”

“That’s another question. My turn,” Li Yuechi said. “How many days will you stay in Shijiang for?”

“Nine more days.”


“Where did you buy the motion sickness patches?”

“A clinic. Only they have it.”


“Last one.” Li Yuechi leaned over, getting close to Tang Heng. “If we go in order, what should the next step be?”

Tang Heng looked at him. He felt like he’d become tiny in Li Yuechi’s black pupils, almost wrapped around him. It was this kind of gaze. Six years ago, amidst a chaotic crowd, under the dizzying lights, Li Yuechi looking at him and only him.

Nine more days left. Self-defeatingly, Tang Heng thought, why should he care so much since there were only nine days left? It was only nine days. He didn’t care anymore. Whether Li Yuechi really liked women or not, what exactly he was thinking about, Tang Heng didn’t care anymore. Even if this was just a game, it wasn’t impossible—Tang Heng grabbed Li Yuechi’s collar and tugged him over. He kissed toward Li Yuechi’s lips—


And was pushed aside.

Tang Heng looked at him in confusion. “This… This is the next step.”

“Too fast.” Li Yuechi held Tang Heng’s finger. His hand was cold after soaking in the creek.

“If you do this,” Li Yuechi whispered, “then when you leave…”


“When you leave, I won’t be able to bear it.”

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September 11, 2023 8:05 am

I could feel the tension!
Define ‘dating’, LY, because I’ve a strong suspicion there was no one lasting or meaningful for TH, who obviously felt guilty either way. LY was locked up and unable to date, in the normal sense of the word (who knows whether love can be forged and maintained in prison).
Thanks Fefe and Addis for the chapter.

Official LMW release!

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